Feb 13.

I’m getting bloggers-guilt on top of my cupcake-anxiety. My youngest turns five today and I’ve some baking to do. You’d think, three kids down the line, that I’d have had ample years to perfect the cupcake but all I’ve mastered is the art of buying cakes at vastly inflated prices in lieu of making a burnt mess that then needs cleaning up. However, my new year’s resolution is to get a grip, to have more dollars and sense. (Less puns would be good too but I’ll start that next month.) None of this provides a very good excuse for my lack of blogging, so I’m going to fill you in on my Xmas vacation in exchange for your leniency.


Headline news?  I learnt to ski. The only other time I had a crack at it  was twenty-five years ago- and that was before a camera lens in a short ‘learning to ski while the viewing public of Australia watches me embarrass myself’ segment- I believe I was hit in the head by the ski lift which made for terrific entertainment but surprisingly I did not fall over.


I had the same determined streak during this, my second skiing encounter, a quarter of a century later. I may not have developed my skills as fast as other more junior family members who skied at breakneck speeds but had major wipeouts all week, but I was damned if I was going to land on my behind with my skis at crazy angles screaming my head off. The only time my knees gave way was when I had a high-speed collision with an 18-year-old snowboarder but even then I managed to somehow stay upright -if doubled over in terror.


Speaking of terrors, the garden-variety family ski trip is an acrophobic minefield.  Uh, dude? Skiing generally takes place at high altitudes?” Oh, that’s right, I’m afraid of heights. I trace this fear back to my younger years. At age four I fell off a two-storey building shattering my foot to such an extent that amputation was briefly considered.  A six-week stay in hospital, a spot of gangrene and a lengthy rehabilitation process has left me with one less than perfect but still functioning foot. (Gammy Foot  had a problem with manky hired ski boots, an ongoing issue I refused to give in to despite agonizing swelling and fiery sensations.) It is to this unfortunate childhood accident that I apportion the blame for my nervousness on gondolas, chairlifts, standing atop mountains and peering down double-black-bump-runs. “You mean, I have to point my skis down that hill and take off?” I asked a ski instructor. (The fact that the run had the fluffy bun-like moniker “Sourdough” didn’t seem to be of any help slowing my heart rate.) “Dude! That is the general idea.


Another among many alien sensations along with dizzying heights and fiery ankles was the altitude sickness.  Although our days started early then went full tilt till sundown around 4.30pm, come 5.30pm we were sitting down to dinner and there simply wasn’t enough energy to consume more than one glass of wine – I’d no strength left in my elbow to tilt the glass- but somehow the following day, after not having being able to sleep properly despite being utterly exhausted, I’d have the annoying sensation of a hangover; headache, slightly racy heart, difficulty breathing and a dodgy memory were my general state of being on the slopes. At one point I was asked my street address in Australia and was slightly worried that I had no idea of the answer. It wasn’t long till I discovered oxygen in a can.  Colorado locals, no doubt, dismiss oxygen in a can as a rip off, especially the orange-flavoured variety which sells at somewhere round $15 a pop at the top of the mountain- where an orange itself is also around $3. But when my soon to be five-year-old projectile vomited on me (nausea being yet another symptom of altitude sickness) I considered oxygen in a can a less expensive cure than ‘driving down to Denver where the altitude is lower’ which was the other suggested option. Then again, maybe in his case the altitude wasn’t to blame. Could it have been his stomach was merely revolting against our holiday diet?


Ski holiday cuisine is low on essential vitamins and minerals and fibre for that matter. Sliders, burgers, chicken fingers, beef chilli topped with sour cream, corn bread, peanut-butter-chocolate- chip cookies, neon-coloured breakfast cereal and fries,fries and more fries-with-that being our staple meals for the holiday week- but then whoever wanted to eat a salad in a snowstorm?


Which brings me back to more immediate gastronomical matters, in short, my cupcake anxiety. To the beaters!




NB- at time of publication I can report that the cupcakes actually worked out- (chocolate with passionfruit icing) although the dog seems to have food poisoning, which is a bit of a worry.